Holiday music and comedy show set

LITTLE FALLS — An all-new night of holiday-themed comedy, storytelling and music titled “A Schommer & Shynes Christmas Time” is set at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at Great River Arts in downtown Little Falls.

For one night only, Michael Shynes and Jason Schommer join forces in a festive night celebrating the magic of the season with special guest David Gerald Sutton, who is a violin virtuoso. General admission tickets are $18. For tickets call 320-632-0960 or buy them online at our website greatart.org/live.

“Inspired by the holidays and this unique time of year, ‘A Schommer & Shynes Christmas Time’ takes a hilarious and heartfelt look at all the joy, madness, insanity, reflection and unexpected moments of the season with stand up comedy and stories by Jason Schommer and seasonal music by Michael Shynes from his brand new holiday album,” a news release stated.

Audience members are encouraged to wear their most ugly Christmas sweater to enter the contest and win prizes.

Harper’s Chord to perform

LITTLE FALLS — Harper’s Chord will perform a holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at Great River Arts in downtown Little Falls, as part of the 14 Fridays Concert Series.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $20. For tickets call 320-632-0960 or buy them online at our website greatart.org/live.

Harper’s Chord has become one of central Minnesota's favorite bands and this year’s holiday show will feature Christmas classics as well as unique twists on holiday favorites, a news release stated. Harper’s Chord will entertain audiences with their harmonies and country/folk flair.

CLC holiday concert set

Community members are invited to attend the Central Lakes College Choir’s holiday concert "On with the Snow!" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, in the Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus.

The CLC Choir will be accompanied by Sarah Gorham on piano and a jazz combo.

Admission is $5 for ages 18 and older and free for CLC students and children. Holiday refreshments will be served immediately after the concert in the lobby.

Music center presents ‘Christmas Toys, Christmas Joys!’

LITTLE FALLS — The St. Francis Music Center in Little Falls presents the St. Francis Preparatory and Concert Orchestras in a Christmas concert titled “Christmas Toys, Christmas Joys!” at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 in Sacred Heart Chapel at St. Francis Convent in Little Falls.

The concert will feature two of the string orchestras at the St. Francis Music Center. These orchestras are open to all area string players, grade school students through adults, throughout the central Minnesota area.

The audience will recognize many Christmas favorites. Among the Preparatory Orchestra’s selections are “Cuckoo, Christmas Locomotive,” “Up on the Housetop” and “The Little Drummer Boy,” featuring a real drummer boy.

The Concert Orchestra will perform “Carol of the Bells,” “Shepherd’s Carol,” “Snow Carols” and more. The orchestra also will perform Mozart’s “Toy Symphony” featuring the many toy instruments being played by multiple players.

The concert will feature a guest appearance by the St. Francis Brass Ensemble. The Brass Ensemble will start playing carols at 6:45 p.m. and will also be featured in the program. The concert will end with a short sing-along of favorite carols featuring the Concert Orchestra and Brass Ensemble.

Directing both groups will be Bobbi French, director of the strings program and instructor at St. Francis Music Center.

The public is invited to attend this free concert, with baskets available for free-will donations. The String Orchestras are supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board, US Bank, Pine Country Bank, private donations and the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls.

For more information, call the Music Center at 320-632-0637.

Festive market set at Sprout

LITTLE FALLS – Local farmers will showcase their products at the upcoming Holiday Growers & Makers Marketplace from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 14 at Sprout in Little Falls.

The December market aims to create a cheerful holiday experience for the whole family through cooking demonstrations, tasty food samples, choir singing and shopping for handmade and homegrown food, art and gifts, it stated in a news release. The public is invited to attend the free event which also includes art activities for all ages through a traveling felting studio and community rug-making.

Entertainment at the market from 10 a.m. to noon will be The Cold Spring Area Maennerchor — German for Men’s Choir — celebrating over 80 years of bringing spirited singing to central Minnesota. The group of more than 15 singers will be dressed in German vests and hats performing a festive set with Christmas carols in German and English as well as a few German crowd favorites. Pillager Schools’ Chamber Singers will then take the stage from 1-3 p.m., singing a mix of a cappella vocal music and holiday carols.

There will be a cooking demonstration and food sampling at about noon in the Sprout kitchen, featuring central Minnesota farmers with the Sustainable Farming Association. SFA is a farmer-to-farmer network that promotes environmental stewardship, economic resilience and strong, diverse communities through education, demonstration and research. The cooking demonstration will be led by Tyler Carlson and Kate Droske of Early Boots Farm of Sauk Centre, who will prepare Pierogi featuring their own grass-fed beef, in addition to products from Ole Lake Farm of Aitkin and Island Lake Farm in Deerwood.

Pierogi, the national dish of Poland, are delicate, stuffed dumplings that date back to the 13th century. Pierogi is a staple holiday dish to celebrate Christmas, Easter, weddings, and more, often having a designated flavor for each holiday, a news release stated. The public is invited to gather in the kitchen to watch the demonstration and learn more about the SFA. SFA members are also invited to stay at Sprout for a social at 3 p.m., which will include a Local Fermentation potluck.

Market attendees are encouraged to come to the Market day hungry, to taste the samples and to dine at the Cabin Fever “pop-up restaurant” to enjoy lunch, craft brews and wine during the market, a news release stated.

Those inspired by the art at the market can have the opportunity to try their hand at two fiber art activities during the market. Facilitated by Liz Dwyer of Dancing the Land Farm, the community will help create a felt rug as an art installation for the Sprout Marketplace. Using wool from “good-felting sheep” she raises on her farm in Clearwater, Dwyer lets the natural wool dictate the color pallet with shades of white, brown, gray and black. After many years of learning and teaching felting, Dwyer travelled to Kyrgyzstan to study a very specific, traditional Kyrgyz style of rug-making.

“There I was steeped in felt, the sounds of sheep, the dizzying heights of the high mountain pastures, the sounds of nomad horse games, the taste of vodka, and apricots, and lamb stew, and endless cups of black tea and milk. I felted until my hands were raw, and my eyes crossed. And I learned a ton,” Dwyer stated.

As one of three Western women who have been taught this art by traditional Kyrgyz artists, Dwyer has the rare permission to keep making and teaching the art. At the market, she needs the many hands of market goers to contribute to the rug-making, as she states “Traditionally, felt-making is community making.”

Market attendees can learn other fiber art techniques at the Mobile Felting Studio by artist Lisa Jordan of Brainerd. As an ambassador for the fiber art form in the region, Jordan has introduced the art to hundreds of students through various workshops and demonstrations. At the mobile studio, Jordan sets up a “sensory feast” of raw fleeces with their sheepy scent and greasy feel, lofty wool batting, unusual looking wool tools and bowls of tiny animals made of wool to pique curiosity, a news release stated. Participants can try many aspects of processing and felting from washing fleece to needle-felting.

Author to make two appearances

Author Frank Weber will make two appearances to discuss his newest novel, “Last Call” published by North Star Press, in Little Falls and Brainerd this weekend, Dec. 7-8.

“Last Call” is the third book in Weber’s highly-acclaimed award-winning Investigator Jon Frederick series that includes “Murder Book” and “The I-94 Murders.”

Weber will discuss his book from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Little Falls Public Library. The author will also be on hand to sign books from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. His books are available at The Shoppes of Little Falls.

From 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Weber will sign and sell books at the “Big Sip and Shop” event at Maddens on Gull Lake. This event is sponsored by the Brainerd Service League. The Brainerd Service League is a group of women who give back to the community by volunteer hours or raising money to help women and children in the Brainerd lakes area.

As a 25 year veteran of the forensic psychology profession, Weber has spent a large portion of his life in service to those in need. As the clinic director at CORE Professional Services, his work has ranged from assessing murderers chained to the cement floor in the basement of a prison to providing therapy for wealthy professionals who’ve engaged in multiple affairs. Weber has testified as an expert witness in numerous sexual assault and homicide cases and has received the President’s Award from the Minnesota Correctional Association for his forensic work.